The Bootleg Beatles

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The tribute band of all tribute bands are heading back to Sunderland. Katy Wheeler caught up with the newest member of the Bootleg Beatles.

HE may be a Geordie, not a Scouser, but Adam Hastings is pulling off the role of legendary Liverpudlian John Lennon with aplomb.

The 24-year-old, from Newcastle, is the newest recruit to the Bootleg Beatles, the tribute band who themselves have played sell-out arenas around the world.

It took a worldwide search to find someone to replace Neil Harrison, who had portrayed Lennon in the Bootlegs since their formation 31 years ago.

After months of auditions, the band decided Adam was the man to fill his winkle-picker shoes.

Adam’s love affair with the Fab Four began at the tender age of nine.

He said: “The first time I heard The Beatles was my dad playing their records when I was about nine. Then when I was about 14/15 their 1 album came out and I went to see the Bootleg Beatles at Newcastle City Hall, that’s when I really started getting into them.

“I never thought it would become a full-time career.”

Speaking about his teenage years, he said: “I had three posters on my bedroom wall – Nirvana, one of the real Beatles and the autographed Bootlegs poster – in my mind as a lad they all had equal status, so to be joining them full-time is amazingly ridiculous.”

Adam is now one quarter of the tribute bad who, in the past, have played in front of Sir Paul McCartney, George Harrison and The Queen and have performed at venues including Wembley Stadium, the Royal Albert Hall and Knebworth.

On stage, he’s joined by David Catlin-Birch (Paul McCartney), Andre Barreau (George Harrison) and Hugo Degenhardt (Ringo Starr).

Adam said: “It’s brilliant playing with the Bootleg Beatles. They are the most well know and most well-respected tribute band out there. Other Beatles acts aspire to be like them, they are the benchmark.”

Adam studied jazz at Leeds College of Music, and formed his own Beatle band after he graduated. Since then he has played in various theatre shows and Beatle bands around the world.

Indeed, he was touring with a Beatles act in America when the Bootleg Beatles auditions were held, but his vocal talent and similar appearance to John made him stand out from the crowd when he eventually met up with the band.

Outgoing John Lennon, played by Neil Harrison, passed on his plectrum to Adam, saying: “Adam Hastings is a remarkable talent. He has the look of John as well as his range and vocal sound exactly and extraordinarily, he also manages to perfectly capture the essence and maturity of the man in performance.

“I have absolute faith that he will wow our audiences worldwide, and I wish him all the luck in the world.”

Adam, who is looking forward to playing in the North East next week, says the key to The Beatles’ popularity is their music’s ability to always sound fresh.

He said: “The key to The Beatles popularity is that they are the best. Their music is so varied from start to finish. You listen to their albums and it’s like you’re listening to four or five different bands, it’s so fresh and interesting.

“The band themselves were also four big personalities which made them stand out. I never had a favourite myself, I’ve always just been a Beatles fan.”

Talking about the show, he said: “We go from the early rock and roll years through to the Sergeant Pepper and Abbey Road days.

“In the second half we perform with a big band and it means we get to perform some of the songs the Beatles didn’t get to do live, like I am the Walrus.

“They stopped touring in about 1966 and after that became a recording band, so fans didn’t get the chance to see those songs live.”

l The Bootleg Beatles play Sunderland Empire on March 15. Tickets are priced £25.50 and are available from Tel. 0844 871 7627.